Out of Chicago IN-DEPTH

A live online photography workshop weekend

Take a deep dive into the methods of some of the world’s best photographers during this intensive, 3-day workshop weekend. Improve your photography as you practice what you’ve learned with assignments that get you out to shoot. Return to get feedback the following week for two epic days of image reviews where instructors will highlight and review what you and others have learned.


Daily, immerse yourself in two, 4-hour interactive sessions. There will be time to hang out and get to know the instructors, enter to win prizes, play games and more. Leading up to the conference you’re invited to participate in photo challenges and panel discussions where you can listen to the pros share their personal views on a variety of topics.

August 21st: 1pm –9pm CT
August 22nd: 9am – 5:30pm CT
August 23rd: 9am – 5:30pm CT

August 24th-September 2nd

September 3rd: 9am – 5:30pm CT

“OMG… this is awesome.”
– Barbara



“Great collection of talent! Thank you!!”
— Vanessa

TJ Thorne

Alan Ross

Alan Shapiro

Albert Dros

Alister Benn

Angie McMonigal

Anne Belmont

Brenda Tharp

Brett Wells

Brooks Jensen

Cecil Holmes

Charles Needle

Charlotte Gibb

Chris Marquardt

Chris Nicholson

Colleen Miniuk

David Akoubian

David Kingham

Enrico Fossati

Erin Babnik

Francesco Gola

Freeman Patterson

Gavin Hardcastle

Greg Benz

Guy Tal

Ian Plant

Jack Curran

Jack Curran

Jackie Kramer

Jamie Konarski Davidson

Jennifer Renwick

John Barclay

John Kosmopoulos

Kav Dadfar

Kurt Budliger

Lou Nettelhorst

Mark Denney

Michael Frye

Michael Frye

Michael Kirkland

Monica Royal

Nick Page

Pete DeMarco

Peter Cox

Rad Drew

Ralph Velasco

Sarah Marino

Steve Simon

Ted Orland

Tim Cooper

Tim Cooper

Todd Nettelhorst

Tony Sweet

Valérie Jardin

Royce Bair

Aaron King

Corwin Hiebert

David duChemin

James Parker



This is a brand new, interactive format with new, unique classes that have never been taught before, including 30+ advanced, deep dive sessions. Together, two instructors will lead each session and share their individual methods and practices on their favorite topic. Assignments will be given to get you out to shoot and return for an epic day of image reviews that highlight what you learned.

Over 30 deep-dive sessions to choose from. Here are just a few but more will be added leading up to the event.


David Kingham & Jennifer Renwick
While blue skies can be challenging to work with, it doesn’t mean you need to pack up and head home! In this class, Jennifer and David will teach and inspire you to embrace blue skies and tap into your creativity by letting go of expectations. We’ll go over different landscapes that lend themselves to blue skies, how to photograph during the blue hour, shooting in black and white, introduce techniques like ICM/slower shutter, processing those images to match your vision, and much more. We will also present case studies, have interactive sessions, a Q&A, and an assignment to challenge you!

What you will learn:

  • How to let go of expectations in the field
  • Identifying subjects that work well with clear days
  • Techniques for shooting under blue sky condition
  • Bringing these images to life in post processing

Gear needed: Camera, solid tripod, shutter release cable, coat, headlamp, weather app on phone (we recommend the app, “Windy.”

Michael Frye


Michael Frye & Charlotte Gibb

Light and color are fundamental components of photography, heavily influencing the composition, mood, and message of an image. Yet these essential elements are often overlooked, or simplified and glossed over. In this session Charlotte Gibb and Michael Frye will take you on a deep dive into this vital topic, showing you how to master the subtleties of light and color so that you can create photographs with a strong message, and powerful emotional impact. 

What you will learn:
  • How to use light to draw the viewer’s eye and tell a story
  • Subtle, often overlooked qualities of light that can make a big difference
  • Practical application of color theory in the field and in the digital darkroom
  • Recognize and create harmonious color combinations to guide your visual story

Gear needed: Camera, lens, eyes


Anne Belmont & Sarah Marino
Join Anne Belmont and Sarah Marino for this inspiring session on seeing and photographing plants and flowers in new, creative ways. Anne and Sarah will cover everything you need to know to photograph plants and flowers: connecting more deeply with your subjects, improving your observation skills, technical essentials, composition, working with different lighting, and photo processing – with interactive exercises, case studies, and ample time for questions along the way. With many of us staying closer to home, this session will provide you with practical skills that you can immediately apply when photographing in your garden, local area, or any travel destination. What you will learn:
  • How to express your personal vision through photographing plants and flowers
  • Learning to see plants and flowers in new, creative ways
  • Essential composition, lighting, and processing concepts
Gear needed: A macro lens or Lensbaby lens will be helpful but neither are required. We also encourage participants to have flowers or a houseplant nearby for interactive exercises during the session.


Lou Nettelhorst & Brenda Tharp

Join Brenda Tharp and Lou Nettelhorst for an inspiring, informational and interactive session and learn to see patterns and abstracts that arise from incorporating the elements of visual design. Whether natural or general subjects, applying visual design concepts when photographing can add impact to your photographs. With staying close to home, this class will inspire you to see creatively right where you are. Through a joint presentation, Lou and Brenda will lay the foundation of good design, and take it further to help you see and photograph patterns and abstracts that can arise from incorporating design in your pictures. We’ll also discuss the importance of light, and how the elements of design are utilized in creating intimate landscapes. We’ve built in a mid-session exercise and an opportunity to share your results online, along with ample time for Q&A.

What you will learn:

  • Learn key elements of design and their importance
  • See and use the light you have
  • Apply design concepts through practice
  • Gain insight and inspiration from shared mid-session assignment photographs

Gear needed: Any camera/lens combination will do. Be prepared to photograph mid-session either inside or outside in the area close to your home.


Todd Nettelhorst & Monica Royal

Monica & Todd are fun with a capital “F”. In this workshop you’ll read, write, walk, talk, look, listen, and think macro. They have a refined & exciting process for figuring out what to do when you don’t know what to do. This crazy energetic, interactive class will send you away with a full understanding of the elements of art and the principles of design while breaking down the technical complexity of your equipment answering the ever present question; “What does this button do???” You’ll leave being able to create spectacular macro artwork in a way that you NEVER have before. Awards and prizes!!!

What you will learn:

  • Finding your creative voice
  • Elements of art and principles of design
  • Apply the rules of visual design
  • Navigating the technical complexities of macro photography

Gear needed: Camera & manual, tripod, macro lens or equivalent


Alister Benn & TJ Thorne

We bet when you got into landscape photography you did so with fabulous expectations of less stress, more time in nature, a healthier lifestyle, self-fulfillment, getting your creative juices flowing and expressing your inner you.How many of you are now more stressed and frustrated by lack of results, or your work being under appreciated online? TJ Thorne & Alister Benn have the answer. Join us and we’ll help you take back photography for you and make you a happier photographer, and more importantly, a happier person. (and make totally awesome unique photographs!)

What you will learn:

  • Identifying the barriers to Happiness
  • Finding your unique path
  • Express the real you, not a veneer
  • Self-actualization 101

Gear needed: Camera, lens, ability to breathe

Jack Curran


Jack Curran & Brooks Jensen

Fine Art Photographer, Publisher and Blogger, Brooks Jensen (LensWork) and Fine Art Black & White Landscape Photographer Jack Curran have organized a series of in-depth sessions designed to help you expand your vision, tell more deeply relevant stories and evolve your personal photography. For many of us, finding that one great image seems to be the ultimate pursuit. However, when we start to consider our personal growth and vision as photographers, we need to look beyond our greatest hits. These sessions are intended to help you look deeper, communicate more personal photographic stories, and find a new level of engagement with your work and the viewer.

What you will learn:

  • Visual Storytelling, implied content and connection between images
  • Working a database, Lightroom collections, ideas and assets
  • Mining for discovery, photographic style, examples in post-processing
  • Titles, text, writing
  • Media and alternatives

Gear for assignments:Your camera, computer and favorite software tools; Adobe Lightroom – Classic (Preferred for demonstration and live demo); Access to an archive of your images, and a way to organize them.


Alan Shapiro & Jamie Konarski Davidson

Flower photography invites many variations from traditional or figurative presentations to moreinterpretive or abstract images. Join Alan Shapiro and Jamie Konarski Davidson as they lead youthrough the process of photographing flowers from a more realistic perspective to a more artisticapproach that leaves reality by the wayside. There are wonderful opportunities for image making fromboth perspectives and the points in between. Beyond the crafting of the image is the unique vision ofthe photographer. Alan and Jamie will share their workflow thoughts and vision with images in thepost-processing choices made for several subjects in this session.

What you will learn:

  • Unique approaches to flower photography
  • Creative workflow for subjects beyond flowers
  • Different tools for flower exploration
  • Post-processing pathways for your vision

Gear Needed: Flowers! Find your favorites and bring them to the table. Plus:

Alan: Your favorite photo gear, a tripod plus… To photograph on black: black velvet, black reflector or ablack piece of styrofoam or board from an art supply or craft store. To photograph on white: a lightbox,white reflector card, white softbox, white piece of plexiglass

Jamie: Macro lens best, but other lenses will work; Lensbaby (optional), diopters (ie., Canon 500D), diffuser/reflector set, tripod. Software: Photoshop, Nik Collection by DxO, Topaz Studio 2 (Impression &Texture)


Charles Needle & Freeman Patterson
In this deep-dive session, Charles and Freeman will discuss, individually and with each other, the primary source of creativity, the role that symbols play in our lives and in our images, and the vital importance of making photographs for yourself. They will present several short sequences of images illustrating their main points with the clear purpose of encouraging and helping participants to be genuinely self-expressive.
What you will learn:
  • Why you are a deeply creative person
  • The importance of making images entirely for yourself
  • The importance of reviewing your own body of work and seeing how it reflects you
  • Why symbols in your art are expressions of you
Gear Needed: A camera and a willingness to explore. 


Valerie Jardin & Chris Marquardt
Learn and grow by setting limitations and working on a photo documentary project in your hometown. Valérie will show you how your hometown, small or large, can give you truly rewarding photo opportunities that will help you grow as a visual storyteller. She will walk you through the practical andcreative process of this new project, how limitations will enhance the learning experience and muchmore. You will leave this session with renewed energy and creativity! Film photography and its inherent limitations are often seen as a great creativity booster for digital photographers who find themselves in a rut. In this session, Chris will add an unexpected angle to this.Learn how the order of decisions that lead to your final photo are very different when working withfilm and how that has a profound impact on your creative process. At the end of this session, you willhave a new appreciation for one of the biggest strengths of film photography.
What you will learn:
  • You don’t have to travel far to find amazing photo opportunities that will help you grow as a photographer.
  • Setting limitations before you start the project will enhance the growth, the experience, the meritand the result.
  • The order of decisions in your workflow matters more than you think. You will leave this sessionwith new skills, ideas and impulses that you can transfer to your digital photography.

Gear Needed: 1 camera, 1 lens. And for Chris’ assignment: your most simple camera (preferably film,but a smartphone will do in a pinch)


Colleen Miniuk & Guy Tal
Ernst Haas said, “Bored with obvious reality, I find my fascination in transforming it into a subjectivepoint of view. Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pureconcentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken.” Join Colleen Miniuk and Guy Tal for this educational and insightful four-hour interactive session on“Visualization-Driven Photography.” By offering a mix of philosophy and practical advice, they’llexplain how incorporating visualization techniques into your photographic process can help you createpersonally meaningful and more expressive photographs. All skill levels welcome. Bring your imagination. Leave inspired to make photographs. 
What you will learn:
  • What visualization is (and is not)
  • How developing a visualization habit—without forming expectations—can positively influenceyour photography practice
  • Where visualization fits in the creative process
  • How to incorporate visual language to convey emotion and symbolism in your photographs
  • How to develop and refine your vision throughout the image-making lifecycle—from recognizingan experience in the field to capturing and processing a photograph.
Gear Needed: Camera gear, pen, notebook


Ralph Velasco & Kav Dadfar
In this digital age, more and more clients are looking beyond just photography. They want stories and are looking for photographers who can provide the whole package – words and photos. In this session learn how to go about finding what to write about, how to pitch that to a client and subsequently how to write your article.
What you will learn:
  • The different writing opportunities there are
  • How to pitch an article to a clientHow to structure and write your articles
  • Tips and advice on photography for articles
Gear Needed: For this session you’ll only need your computer with a word processing program such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.


Angie McMonigal & John Kosmopoulos
Join Angie & John for a comprehensive approach to the fine art of architectural photography. From practical tips on the use of compositional tools and the analysis of a scene to creating signature looks and a thematic series, both instructors will help you uncover creative viewpoints for more compelling images. The session will also include post-processing techniques to further enhance your artistic vision.
What you will learn:
  • Impactful compositions
  • Creative themes for a series
  • A spectrum of fine art approaches
  • How to edit photos based on your own vision
Gear Needed: Wide-angle lens and tripod. Telephoto in the 70-200mm range.ND filters (at least 10 stops) for any long exposure photography.Computer / Laptop with Lightroom or Camera Raw and Photoshop for follow-up session assignments.

From Your Heart to Art: Unlocking Your Photographic Potential

Alan Ross & Ted Orland
Pick one of your photographs – any one – and ask yourself how it came to exist at all. What led you to photograph that subject, in that spot, at that moment? What actually happened, moment by moment, that resulted in clicking the shutter? Photography isn’t only about how to make a photograph, but also why. Every technical decision has artistic consequences; every artistic decision has technical consequences. This workshop is geared to helping you discover – and express – the essence of your own vision.
What you will learn:
  • Establishing workflow from concept to completion
  • Strategies that promote photographic breakthroughs
  • How Aesthetics Inform Technique
  • How Technique Influences Content
  • How to Start, When to Stop
  • What’s Important, What’s Not
  • Making Your Photographs Yours

Gear needed: Nothing special needed.

Channeling the Muse: Working with Sources of Inspiration

Erin Babnik & Enrico Fossati
From the earliest days of our lives, we are bombarded with imagery that leaves lasting and cumulative impressions in the mind’s eye. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, movies, advertising, cartoons, and many other visual stimuli combine to present us with imaginative solutions for picturing the world and our experiences within it. As you evolve as a photographer, the most inspirational of these impressions become a wellspring of creativity to draw upon, so long as you are able to work with these sources constructively. This session will explore the many ways in which you can channel sources of inspiration in creating your own, unique photographs.
What you will learn: 
  • Where to find inspiration
  •  How to analyze what you see to identify the compositional and stylistic traits that interest you
  • How to “make it your own” in the field and in post-processing

Greater than the Sum of its Prints

John Barclay & Peter Cox

An often overlooked skill in photography is producing a coherent body of work. When a group of images complement each other well, they transcend their own qualities and become something greater. Whether it’s as simple as a triptych to hang on the wall, a portfolio of prints to leaf through or a full-scale book, pursuing a longer term project can be immensely rewarding and challenging. It can drive you and free you from a creative rut.

Landscape photographers John Barclay and Peter Cox will share their experience producing bodies of work for both personal and commercial purposes. Peter runs a landscape photography gallery in Ireland and has produced and self-published three commercially successful books – “The Irish Light”, “Atlantic Light” and the upcoming “The Skelligs: Islands on the Edge of the World”. Each book was funded through Kickstarter, and each smashed its funding goal. He will pass on his knowledge of coming up with a successful idea, designing and producing the book, and running a good crowdfunding campaign. John is a respected photographer, lecturer, and workshop leader whose passion is to unlock your creativity and help you believe in your own ability to create something wonderful. Together they will inspire you to work on a project that will lead to one of three goals: 1) A panel of ten loose prints to be assembled into a beautiful portfolio, or 2) A Blurb book created via the Lightroom Book module, or 3) A fully-fledged Kickstarter campaign to produce a commercial photo book.

What you will learn:

    • An overview of the Lightroom Book module to create a blurb book.
    • How to create and print a portfolio of ten images.
    • How Peter went from an idea to a successful Kickstarter campaign, three times!
    • How to find, organize and begin your printed media project. Either curating your existing work into a coherent body, or shoot a new project from scratch.
    • Peter’s thoughts on long term projects.  How to begin and how to stay focused.

Gear needed: Adobe Lightroom Classic and/or Adobe Photoshop with Bridge.

Creating Compelling Images: Landscapes & Floral in B&W & ICM

Jackie Kramer & Tony Sweet

B&W images can make a statement which yield powerful impact. Stories emerge as forms dance between light & shadow. Tony and Jackie will offer their insight into what constitutes ideal candidates for B&W in landscape & floral images, respectively. Follow along as they each demonstrate techniques for B&W conversion & creativity in post-processing using Lightroom, Photoshop, Nik, Luminar.

Then take a journey into the magical world of ICM which begins when the camera & maker conspire to create an image full of art & energy. Continue through post-processing with examples that will elucidate the thought process and techniques employed. You will leave with a yearning to pick up your camera & paint the world with movement that flows throughout your images.

What you will learn:

  • How to select good candidates for B&W
  • Editing techniques for classic & artsy looks
  • How to move your camera for pleasing ICM
  • Interpreting scenes & editing techniques

Gear needed: Macro lens (Regular or any Lensbaby optic); Short telephoto: 24-70mm/ 24-120mm range; Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop; Variable Neutral density/ Polarizer; Translucent Diffuser (20 – 22 inch)

A Photography Trip: From planning to processing

David Akoubian & Cecil Holmes
For many years now Cecil and David have traveled around the US to photograph and lead photography workshops. They have learned how to scout a location, and when and where to shoot to maximize their return. Join them to see how they not only scout, but plan a photography trip, and how they process their work, both on the road and at home. A complete planning to processing virtual workshop.
What you will learn:
  • How to research locations
  • How to use Apps to plan a shoot
  • How to pack properly
  • How to finish your image

Landscape Photography: From Idea to Print

Albert Dros & Francesco Gola

Capturing a beautiful landscape photograph is an adventure that starts even before we go on field with our camera and ends by hanging a magnificent print on the wall!

In this class you’ll discover how to turn an idea into a plan that you can follow on the field and we’ll show you all our tricks to post process your image effectively and get the most out of it for both online publication and print!

What you will learn:

  • How to develop an idea in Landscape Photography
  • How to make digital scouting and to plan your shot
  • The best settings for landscape photography to get the most of your gear
  • Postprocessing techniques
  • How to finalize for web or for print

Gear needed: Google Earth / MyMaps; PhotoPills (recommended, not mandatory); Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop; A camera and a tripod 

Shift Your Perspective: Top Tips for Unleashing Your Creativity

Ian Plant & Kurt Budliger

Do you want to take photos that stand out from the crowd? Then you need to radically transform the way you shoot. During this engaging presentation, photo pros Ian Plant and Kurt Budliger share their top techniques for approaching photography subjects in a unique, creative, and fresh way. This presentation will change the way you see the world, helping you to take your photography to new heights.

What you will learn:

  • New ways of creatively seeing the world
  • Gear that can enhance your creativity
  • Composition and lighting styles with maximum impact
  • A more artistic approach to photography

Gear needed: No special gear is needed. All you need is a willingness to push personal creative boundaries, and not being afraid to fail.

iPhone Magic: From iPhone to iPad and SnapSeed to Photoshop

Jack Davis and Rad Drew

Jack and Rad will take you on a creative journey into the nooks and crannies of your native camera. You’ll learn new options for optimizing and retouching images, creating collages, and embellishing photos. You’ll be introduced to new features of your phone and new apps that will invigorate your creative process!

What you will learn how to: 

  • Maximize the Native camera
  • Optimize your Images
  • Retouch landscapes, portraits, and faces
  • Create collages and composite images
  • Embellish and stylize

Gear needed: iPhone or iPad (Note: primarily for iPhone, but Android users are welcome. Android compatible apps are marked with an asterisk (*) in the list below)

Lightroom* for Mobile (free version ok); Snapseed*; Photoshop Fix; TouchRetouch; Faces; Image Blender; Photoshop for iPad; DreamScope; Waterlogue; Bluristic*; Focos



Immerse yourself in two, 4-hour interactive sessions daily, over one weekend, as a pair of world-class photographers lead each session and share with you their individual methods and practices on a favorite topic.


Get out, shoot, play and practice what you’ve learned over a one week period. Check-in, share and exchange your discoveries throughout the week in the online community.


Connect, discuss and share what you’ve learned in our online Community with fellow attendees, instructors and the Out of Chicago Team.


Join your peers when you return to be part of a series of epic, group image reviews where instructors will highlight what you’ve learned.


You receive access to all session recordings for 12 months. That means if you miss one of your favorite sessions during the weekend, you can go back and watch it on your own time.


Leading up to the conference participate in photo challenges and panel discussions with the pros. During the conference don’t miss out on getting to know vendors, receive special offers to buy equipment, enter to win prizes, play games and more.


Who is this for?
Photography enthusiasts and pros, all levels of passionate photographers are welcome. Out of Chicago IN-DEPTH is for the photographer who wants to immerse themselves in a weekend of photography and take a deep dive on some of their favorite topics, getting to know better the photographers that teach them. It is for someone that wants access to a premier package of photography presentations and tutorials to watch later. And for all those who want to belong to a special photography community.

How does an Out of Chicago online conference work?
This works just like our in-person conferences, but all sessions take place online in the comfort of your home using your computer. Our Out of Chicago Community will be the hub where everything takes place including access to all live presentations and sessions, interactive forum discussions and more.

What makes this different than watching videos?
This is a live, interactive photography event. All interactive sessions will take place online, connecting together 50+ leading professional photographers with 500+attendees from around the world. You will interact real time with a passionate photography community and learn face to face from some of the world’s best instructors. This event is more than a series of slide shows.

This is a 3-day, interactive workshop weekend where each deep dive session will give you concrete, technical take aways to send you off to practice what you learn and improve your photography. Then return for for a group image review where instructors highlight what you’ve learned and more.

How do I watch the sessions online?
Sessions will be live-streamed using the Zoom video conferencing platform. We will have detailed instructions on how to use Zoom in the weeks leading up to the conference. We will also have several sessions leading up to the conference where you’ll get a chance to try it out. Just like our in-person conferences, our team will help you every step of the way.

What types of sessions can I choose from?
There will be 30+ advanced, deep dive sessions lead by two instructors who will share their individual methods and practices on their favorite topic. Assignments will be given to get you out to shoot and return for an epic day of image reviews that highlight what you learned.

What if I miss a class?
All presentations and interactive sessions will be recorded and available to view after the event for at least 12 months following the conference.

Will I be able to get into the classes I want?
Sessions are unlimited so you may choose your perfect schedule.

Do I need to have a webcam and microphone?
If you want to participate as a face-to-face participant you will need a webcam and microphone. Most computers today have them built in. If you’d like to simply watch the sessions, you can do that from any device.

What if I don’t want to be a face-to-face participant?
No problem! Anyone can watch any of the sessions and submit questions and comments through the group chat.

How do I upload images for the group image reviews?
Image uploads will take place through our discussion forum as part of the Out of Chicago community.

How do I get access to the online community?
You will receive an invite to the community when you register for the conference.

Do I need to be present all three days and the image reviews?
Feel free to participate and watch as much as possible over the weekend and jump in for the image reviews a week later. You can watch what you miss after the conference is over.

Are you selling a one-day ticket?
No. One ticket will give you access to all sessions during and after the conference.

Refund policy:
Because you will have access to all of the courses after the conference, we are not offering refunds for this event.

— Mark


“Amazing conference”  
— Albert
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